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Nancy Grace

Newlywed Bride Hires Hit-man to Kill Husband; Drunk Mom Drives Wrong way on Freeway Killing 8

Aired August 06, 2009 - 20:00   ET


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Breaking news tonight. A Florida beach beauty marries her dream man, and the newlyweds all set to live happily ever after, til death do them part. What the 26-year-old beauty didn`t plan on was that the hit-man she hired to murder her new hubby is a cop! That`s right. The cops sting her on video. She breaks down in hysterical tears, crying over her dead husband within just hours of planning those final touches for his shooting death. She was on the phone with a would-be hit- man, and we have the video.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You need to calm down.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go with the detective. You want to help (INAUDIBLE)

DIPPOLITO: No! Please!


GRACE: And tonight: A young mother with five little children in her mini-van barrels down the wrong way on a packed interstate highway, slamming into another vehicle. Tally, eight dead, one child, as we go to air, hanging onto life by a thread. Tragedy? Yes. Accident? No! Toxicology reports Mommy high on booze and pot. Tonight, a court battle brewing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The question`s asked, Did she have an alcohol problem? Did you know her to go to bars?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you know her to get drunk and act in a...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I never saw her drunk since the day I met her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A 36-year-old mother, Diane Schuler, drove the wrong way for nearly two miles on a New York highway with five children inside her mini-van. They struck an SUV with three adults head on. Eight people were killed. Authorities revealed Schuler had a blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit, equivalent to 10 drinks, and that she also had traces of marijuana in her system.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you put five children in a car when you`re a mother and you`re drunk? How do you do that? It`s incomprehensible. I can`t even -- we have children. I would never, ever do something like that. It`s just -- it`s just -- it`s crazy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I go to bed every night knowing. My heart is clear. She did not drink. She is not an alcoholic. Listen to all that, she is not an alcoholic, and my heart is (INAUDIBLE) every night when I go to bed. Something medically had to have happened.


GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us. A Florida beach beauty marries her dream man, and the newlyweds all set to live happily ever after til death do them part. But what the 26-year-old beauty didn`t plan on was that the hit-man she hired to murder hubby is a cop.



I didn`t do anything, and I didn`t plot anything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police say she thought she`d gotten away with it, but this afternoon, she`s on her way to Palm Beach County jail after Boynton Beach police say 26-year-old Dalia Dippolito tried to pay a hit-man $3,000 to kill her husband. Turns out that hit-man was an undercover police officer tipped off by a confidential informant. She says she didn`t do it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s 10:50. I should have been dead at, like, 9:00.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dippolito was working out at L.A. Fitness gym when police called her to return to the home. It was taped off and detectives roaming the property like it was a crime scene.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here`s a woman who`s saying she`s 5,000 percent sure she wants to pay for her husband to be killed. And then at the scene, you have a woman who is sobbing uncontrollably because she`s just learned that her husband is dead.

DIPPOLITO: No! No! Oh, my God!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just divorce me and take everything. I mean, that`s the best way, right? I don`t understand!


GRACE: Straight out to Ashley Glass from WPEC joining us there in Palm Beach, Florida. Ashley, what happened?

ASHLEY GLASS, WPEC: Well, I saw this woman today for the first time up in court for her first appearance, and it was like I was looking at a different person. I mean, you saw the YouTube video there. She was emotional, over the top, hysterical, how you would react, right, if you thought someone was dead.

Then in court today for first appearance, stone cold, expressionless as she stood before a judge. He set her bond today at $25,000. We already know she`s bonded out. We saw her leave in an unmarked here from the Palm Beach County jail, and she`s actually at her mom`s house right now. She went straight to her mom`s house. That`s where she`s going to be on house arrest. A judge ordered it as this case moves along in court. We`re already hearing from her lawyer today...

GRACE: Oh, boy! That...


GRACE: ... strict, Ashley. The judge ordered it? Wow! House arrest? Boy, how much more strict could that punishment be? She`s at home while Mommy`s cooking her chicken soup!

I want to go out to a special guest joining me from Boynton Beach, Chief Matthew Immler with the Boynton Beach Police Department. Chief, it`s a pleasure to have you with us. Explain to me how you guys managed to get this on video. It`s incredible.

CHIEF MATTHEW IMMLER, BOYNTON BEACH POLICE DEPARTMENT (via telephone): Well, the case started on Friday, Nancy, and all through the weekend, we had met with the defendant and we actually have quite a bit of video and audio of various portions of our interaction with her. The portion that you`ve seen that`s on the YouTube is at very end and, really, a small amount of what we`ve already taped with her. It is essentially the conclusion of the case at that point.

GRACE: With me, Chief Matthew Immler, joining us from Boynton Beach, Florida. Chief, it`s incredible. How did she get hooked up with an undercover cop?

IMMLER: Well, she had asked someone to actually make this happen, to have her husband killed. The person that she had asked came to us, advised us of what was going on, and at that point, we interceded.

GRACE: You know, to Dr. Bethany Marshall -- everybody, we`re taking your calls live. This woman is stunning, 26-year-old work-out enthusiast, let me say, only married six months. The bloom should not be off the rose, Bethany Marshall. They`re newlyweds. Dr. Bethany, is she crazy? She approaches a friend. And I don`t care how good of a friend you are, who`s going to go along with hiring a hit-man?

BETHANY MARSHALL, PSYCHOANALYST: Well, obviously, she didn`t have big picture thinking if she approached a friend not thinking that person would turn her in to the police. But most women who kill their husbands usually have what`s called a borderline personality disorder configuration...

GRACE: Oh, don`t start up, Bethany! There`s nothing wrong with this woman.

MARSHALL: Well, but it`s not a mental illness. It`s just a personality edition order. And there`s extreme ragefulness at the smallest of provocations. But what I think is interesting is he has a criminal history, as well. He was giving her cash to pay bills, and then she wasn`t even paying the bills with it. So was there a financial incentive on her part? Was there a joint corruption of conscience on both of their parts, and she acted it out together? But with borderline, there`s ragefulness and then there`s impulsivity with acting out the ragefulness in a very malicious and revengeful way.

GRACE: We are taking your calls live. Out to Sandy in Minnesota. Hi, Sandy. Sandy, are you with me? Sandy? I can hear you. Can you hear me?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I can hear you.

GRACE: OK. What`s your question, dear?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. How is this poor man ever going to trust another woman again ever? I mean...

GRACE: Hey, look, Sandy, he`s probably at home on his knees, counting his blessings that this near murder was averted.

But with me right now, the perfect person to answer Sandy in Minnesota`s question. With me is John Sabatino, a very good friend of the would-be dead husband, Michael Dippolito. John, thank you for being with us. How was his reaction? What is it to all of this, to find out your wife of just six months, your newlywed, your bride, is planning to rub you out?


GRACE: Hi. Can you hear me, John?


GRACE: What was your friend`s reaction?

SABATINO: I spoke to Mike first thing this morning, and he was totally in shock. He could not believe this entire thing has happened to him.

GRACE: Well, did he see it coming? Did he see anything, any rift in the marriage?

SABATINO: No, not really, just felt that she was, you know, a go- getter and that she, you know, wanted to lead the high-class society life.

GRACE: Like what?

SABATINO: You know, I know Mike has treated women great in the past, and he was absolutely going to treat this one with all his heart.

GRACE: But what do you mean "treat women great." What do you mean, buy them stuff?

SABATINO: Yes. I mean, you know, buy them stuff. Mike`s a gentleman. I mean, I`ve known Mike for over 20 years, and every girlfriend that he`s had that I`ve met has -- spoke highly of him.

GRACE: So you saw no problems in the marriage, and suddenly she hires a hit-man?

SABATINO: Well, there are -- were some problems because everybody warned Mike that things were happening way too fast. I mean, I think they were living together after, like, only one or two weeks, and then the small engagement and then to be married, like, within six months. Just everything was happening fast with them.

GRACE: Well, Mr. Sabatino, what was this woman like? I know she was a fitness freak, worked out all the time. What more can you tell me about her?

SABATINO: I met her probably back in December for the first time. Mike introduced me to her. I was down in Florida. I was visiting my brother and happened to go over to Boca. And she seemed to be, like, OK. She was definitely a very pretty girl, but -- you know, she tended to cater to Mike, too at times.

GRACE: This woman spent hours and hours every week getting the perfect body, the perfect look. She meets this guy. Within six months, they`re headed down the aisle. And within six months after that, she`s hiring a hit-man to rub him out. We are taking your calls live.

Let`s unleash the lawyers. Joining me tonight, Susan Moss, John Burris and Lauren Lake. Sue Moss, weigh in.

SUSAN MOSS, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: The six-month itch is a -- well, it`s a witch. I can`t believe it took her six months, and already, she`s trying to rub out her husband. There`s no defense in this case. The fact that she asked her friends about a hit-man means that there`s no entrapment because the government wasn`t involved then. There is no defense.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a lot of funny stuff going on. I overlooked a lot of things. And you know, you try and look -- see the best in people, not the worst. I feel a little bad, but I mean, there`s no reason she had to do this, you know?




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dippolito was arrested Wednesday after police say she hired a hit-man to kill her husband of only six months. Turns out that hired gun was an undercover cop. Boynton PD staged an entire crime scene as if Dippolito`s husband had actually been shot dead. When she was given the news, she sobbed in hysterics but later learned at the police station her husband was still alive.

Detectives say they received a tip about Dalia`s plan. She had been dealing with an undercover police officer posing as a hit-man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The report says two met several times in a parking lot at a CVS and at a gas station. When the officer asked if she was sure she wanted it done, she replied, quote, "I`m not going to change my mind. I`m 5,000 percent sure I want it done."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Michael Dippolito and his wife met less than a year ago. He`s now 38. She`s 26. They were married six months ago. He says strange things started happening. Money went missing. Threatening notes were left on his car. He says now that makes sense, but it`s far different than his wife trying to kill him.


DIPPOLITO: No! No! Oh, my God! No!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) said they saw a black male running (INAUDIBLE)


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ma`am, go with the detective. If you want to help your husband, OK -- if you want to help your husband, you need to go (INAUDIBLE) tell us everything you know about who he knows, who he`s connected to. (INAUDIBLE)

DIPPOLITO: Please! Please! No!


GRACE: Here, little girl. You`re going to need these in the big house, OK? All that sobbing and crying and carrying on? It`s all on video. We`re just seeing a portion of what the Boynton Beach PD has against this woman, a 26-year-old newlywed who allegedly planned to rub out her husband. Problem! Ruh-roh! The hit-man is a cop.

OK. Let`s take another look at what the cops have in their arsenal that we know of. Roll it, Rosie.




GRACE: OK. She`s walking up. She`s gotten a call at the LA Fitness center to come home immediately. OK, look at the other cops. This is what I like. They all know he`s not dead. Oh, God. No! No! Look, they`re all looking away and looking at the ground. Uh-oh! Scratching his head. This must be a very painful moment for her. Work it! Work it! Cry! OK, it`s about time she should bend over with abdominal pain. She`s about to collapse out of grief. Look at all the cops just staring at her. Somebody please take her. Take her so we can book her.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go with the detective. If you want to help your husband, OK -- if you want to help your husband, you need to (INAUDIBLE) Tell us everything you know about who he knows, who he`s connected to. (INAUDIBLE)


GRACE: So Chief Immler, when did you break it to her that her husband was, in fact, alive in the next room at the police department?

IMMLER: Actually, Nancy, at about the point that we were taking her from the interview room back to the cell block, we let her see her husband at that point.

GRACE: Oh, Lord! I didn`t know you actually let them see each other. And what was her reaction?

IMMLER: She was surprised.

GRACE: Surprised. I think you`re underplaying it a little bit. Now, at this time, when she first saw her husband, did she know he was alive?

IMMLER: Well, yes, because he was standing there in the detectives room.

GRACE: Had you already told her he was alive?

IMMLER: No, we didn`t -- we made no statement about that. She actually saw him as we were moving her.

GRACE: Chief, what was she saying? I mean, before she realized she was busted, what was she saying?

IMMLER: She really wasn`t saying a whole lot. We were just asking her mainly general questions, and she was responding in generalities, like, I don`t know who would do this, that sort of thing.

GRACE: To Ellie Jostad, our producer on the story. Ellie, what more can you tell me?

ELLIE JOSTAD, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER: Well, Nancy, Boynton Beach police say that they have several conversations that this woman, Mrs. Dippolito, had on -- with this informant and the undercover cop. It`s all on tape. She gave the informant $1,200 as a down payment to buy a gun to allegedly kill her husband.

GRACE: Twelve hundred dollars? You know, a lot of celebrities spend that much on a pocketbook. And that was to get him killed?

JOSTAD: Right. And then she told the undercover cop to give him $3,000 after the job was done.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If it`s 10:50, I should have been dead at, like, 9:00.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dead if his wife`s alleged plan had worked. Dalia Dippolito is accused of trying to hire a hit-man to take him out. At 6:00 this morning, detectives knock on his door. They told him his wife was trying to kill him and staged a crime scene. His wife sobbed uncontrollably when she arrived. Michael confronted her at the police station. He says there was nothing to say. Michael was shown the recording.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw it. I`m OK with it.


GRACE: Straight out to the lines. Rosiland, Ohio. Hi, dear.


GRACE: I`m good. What`s your question?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just wondered if there was a large life insurance policy that she stood to inherit, if there should not be some kind of waiting period. I mean, they were only married six months.

GRACE: Good question. Rory O`Neil with Metro Networks, what do we know? What could be the possible motivation?

RORY O`NEIL, METRO NETWORKS: Well, these are the kinds of things that detectives are looking at now. Don`t forget, this only happened between Friday and Wednesday, so there are really a lot of details to go through. These are part of the interviews that they`ll have with Michael. Don`t forget, he just found out about this whole plot yesterday morning. So there`s a lot of fact checking going on now to figure out exactly what she could have gained by having her husband killed.

GRACE: Back to the lawyers, Susan Moss, John Burris, Lauren Lake. Go ahead, John. I`ve braced myself. What`s your defense?

JOHN BURRIS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I don`t know what the defense is right now. Obviously, the evidence looks pretty strong against her, but I think if I`m looking at this, I have to look -- first you want to find out what the motive is or absence of a motive. I want to know what psychologically, and I know you...

GRACE: There you go!

BURRIS: No, you pooh-poohed this, but maybe there is a significant personality disorder. Maybe this person is such a narcissistic type personality, she`s out of touch with...

GRACE: Maybe she`s just downright mean and (INAUDIBLE)

BURRIS: Well, has she been mean before? I mean, you want to look at these things. I tend to think...

GRACE: Has she been mean before?

BURRIS: ... that this is a narcissistic -- as a narcissistic type personality, she may be out of touch with reality. I`m looking for some form of mitigation here. Obviously, we have a lot of evidence here to suggest...

GRACE: John...

BURRIS: ... she wanted to kill her husband but maybe not. Maybe the interpretation should not be so clear-cut. So these are things to look at. I mean, I`m not saying that`s clear, but we don`t know as lawyers until we get into it and do the checking.

GRACE: It`s murky, isn`t it, John Burris. It`s very murky. It`s hard to...

BURRIS: No, I wouldn`t say it`s murky...

GRACE: ... find that defense. You`re looking. You`re digging. You`re scraping...

BURRIS: Absolutely.

GRACE: ... the bottom of the barrel.

BURRIS: Well, I wouldn`t call it the bottom of the barrel. You are looking to find what the evidence is.

GRACE: Grasping at straws. OK, Lauren Lake...

BURRIS: No, not necessarily.

GRACE: What do you have, Little Miss Echo?


GRACE: Are you going to say the same thing Burris said?

LAUREN LAKE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I`m actually going to say something different. I`m going to say we`re also going to look at this informant, this supposed third party informant.

BURRIS: Absolutely.

LAKE; Who is this person? If she`s so connected to the police or so connected to the girl -- we don`t know anything about this person, and we need to.

GRACE: Lauren...

LAKE: Yes, Nancy?

GRACE: The cops have her on audio and...

LAKE: And we also need to look...

GRACE: ... video.

LAKE: ... at the cops` procedure. Did they have authorization from the court...


GRACE: You hear that, Chief Immler? Get ready! They`re going to say you guys tried to frame this girl.


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Do you see that? Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please. Please. Please.


GRACE: You are seeing Dalia Dippolito, aged 26, a newlywed of just six months breaking down in hysterical sobs as police inform her her groom is dead, murdered. They carry her away. She`s nearly doubled over in grief.

When they get her to the police station, they let her look in the next room and there he is. Very alive and very well. This is a police sting that you are seeing right now.

We are taking your calls live. Out to Cheryl in Michigan. Hi, Cheryl.

CHERYL, CALLER FROM MICHIGAN: Hi, Nancy. Love you. Love your growing family.

GRACE: Thank you. Bless it. Did you know that two days ago they were 21 months. Almost 2. Praise the lord.


GRACE: What`s your question, love?

CHERYL: On top of life insurance, does he have a business, a company, assets that she was going into wanting to kill him?

GRACE: What do we know, Ashley Glass? Ashley joining us from WPEC?

ASHLEY GLASS, REPORTER, CNN AFFILIATE WPEC, COVERING STORY: When we talked to him, he said, yes, he`s well off. Yes, they did live in an extravagant lifestyle.

But he says he really doesn`t know what the motive is. When he came face- to-face with her in the police department, he remembered he says he thinks he had the chance to ask her that, too. Were you after my money? What was it? He says he doesn`t want to know. He didn`t even take that opportunity to ask her, what were you after?

GRACE: Ashley, what do you mean by an extravagant lifestyle? And what do we know?

GLASS: Well, I mean, he just flat out said we spend a lot of money, and he said there were suspicions along the way that maybe she was after his money. They had only been married six months.

GRACE: Maybe she was after his money?

GLASS: But, again, he didn`t want to ask her flat out.

GRACE: OK. Well, I`m going to ask Chief Matthew Immler from the Boynton Beach Police Department.

Chief, what did he do for a living? Did they live the high life?

CHIEF MATTHEW IMMLER, BOYNTON BEACH POLICE DEPT., ON THE CASE (via phone): Well, I don`t know if you would call it living the high life. They live in a very nice area of Boynton Beach. It`s a newly constructed town center development, and he works from home. I`m not exactly sure what his business is. But I know that he seems to do well.

GRACE: What do you mean town center? What`s that?

IMMLER: A town center is where you build a shopping center, retail, restaurants, and then build the residence around that.

GRACE: Oh right. Fancy, high-end stores like Sacks, Fifth Avenue, Barney`s, and then, yes.

IMMLER: Exactly.

GRACE: Expensive condos. OK.

We are taking your calls, out to Kiana in Washington. Hi, dear.


GRACE: Thank you. And thank you for calling in, dear. What`s your question? Kiana calling from Washington state.

KIANA: Yes. I would like to know if anyone knows if the wife was having an affair.

GRACE: Well, you know, that`s a good question. There`s always money or a lover hiding in the closet.

What do you know, Ellie Jostad?

ELLIE JOSTAD, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER, COVERING STORY: Don`t know of an alleged lover at this point, although we do know that she told the confidential informant she gave him a schedule of where her husband would be, gave him a couple of pictures, told the cops who was posing as a hit- man some ways that he might get out of town easily, some get-away routes. She apparently gave hem lots of information to try to pull off this alleged plot.

GRACE: And going to the gym that morning, that was supposed to be her alibi?

JOSTAD: Right. Well, actually she offered to go get her hair done. She thought that would be a good alibi. But -- this, you know, undercover cop told her why don`t you get out of the house by 6:00 a.m. in the morning so she went to the gym, and that`s where she got word that her husband was dead.

GRACE: To Leeann in Mississippi, hi, Leeann.

LEEANN, CALLER FROM MISSISSIPPI: Hi, Nancy. God bless you and your family.

GRACE: Thank you. Thank you very much.

LEEANN: Your children are beautiful.

GRACE: They are two little miracle babies. You know Lucy was only two pounds, a little over two pounds when she came in to this world and I`m happy to say she`s over 30 pounds now and she can say daddy and mommy in her own way. So can John David. He`s been saying it a really long time.

What`s your question, love?

LEEANN: Well, I`m a little confused on how the video got on to YouTube, and is she going to get a hot shot defense attorney to say that they`re setting her up?

GRACE: You know what, Leeann?

LEEANN: How to get her off.

GRACE: That`s exactly where this is headed. You heard Burris and Lake lining it up. So how did the video get on YouTube, Chief Immler?

IMMLER: Well, Florida has a very open public record.

GRACE: That`s right. That`s right. Florida.

IMMLER: Yes, for instance, as soon as the suspect is booked, the probable cause affidavit becomes public record, and because of that, we try and be accommodating to the media.

Obviously, there`s a lot that we can`t release, but we wanted to release something because we do like to cooperate, and we do like to be able to assist them in telling her story to the citizens.

GRACE: You know, Chief -- Chief Immler, you`re right. In fact, out of all the states in the nation, Florida has the most open courtroom system. They don`t hide anything. The theory in Florida is the best detergent is sunshine, so you`ve got open courtrooms, open records. Anybody, including the media, can get a hold of most of the police investigative files. Yes.

Very quickly, everyone, I want to go to Tom Shamshak, former police chief, private investigator, instructor at B.U.

Tom, if you want to find out about insurance policies and money and wills, how do you go about doing that?

TOM SHAMSHAK, FMR. POLICE CHIEF, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR, INSTRUCTOR AT BOSTON UNIV.: Good evening, Nancy. Obviously, investigators will be sitting down with the husband and mining for that information, looking at all of the background associated with a prenuptial and whatever else they`re going to uncover through diaries, her computer records, and I think that`s where they`re going to go.

GRACE: Oh, yes. The computer records. You`re darn right, Tom Shamshak.

Very quickly, everybody. Take a listen to our second story.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The family of Michael Bastardi Sr. and his son Guy are incredulous over the revelation that Long Island mother Diane Schuler was stoned and drunk when she plowed into the Bastardis` SUV going the wrong way on the Taconic Parkway. Schuler herself was killed along with her 2-year-old daughter and three nieces.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think anyone that knows and contributed to this should be brought to justice in one way or another.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Bastardi`s family lawyer calling now for a full investigation saying he senses what he calls a fragrance of criminality.

MARSHAL NEMARK, BASTARDI FAMILY`S ATTORNEY: It`s inconceivable to me that the family would be unaware of the fact that this woman drank a lot and used marijuana.

DANIEL SCHULER, DIANE SCHULER`S HUSBAND: She is not an alcoholic, and my heart is rested every night when I go to bed. Something medically had to have happened.

DOMINIC BARBARA, SCHULER FAMILY ATTORNEY: Something happened to her brain. That doesn`t give me an answer. Does not give me an answer for the alcohol in her stomach or the marijuana allegedly there, and I`m not saying that test is wrong here. But something had to happen. This is not a woman who would jeopardize five children. She was the one they chose to always drive.


GRACE: The fragrance of criminality? More like the odor of criminality. The stench. The pungent stench of criminality. Eight people dead.

Out to Rupa Mikkilineni, joining us there from the scene of the crash, what happened?

RUPA MIKKILINENI, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER, ON THE SCENE FROM DEADLY CRASH: Nancy, there are -- there was a terrible crash, a collision that occurred July 26th at 1:30 p.m. Mommy Diane Schuler along with her three nieces and her two children, 5-year-old son, who did survive the crash, and 2-year-old daughter were killed tragically.

This is a head-on collision on the highway right behind me. I`m actually very close to the crash site. Just a half mile up the street here. She drove the wrong way northbound on a southbound highway behind me.

GRACE: Rupa, what do we know? Who was in the car with her in the minivan?

MIKKILINENI: The red minivan, and it was her three nieces. These were the children of her brother, and her own children, Nancy, her own 2-year-old daughter and her 5-year-old son.

GRACE: How many are dead that were in the car with her?

MIKKILINENI: Actually, she is dead as well as all the children except for her son. Her 5-year-old son.

GRACE: And Rupa, what about the toxicology reports? What do they show? What was in her system?

MIKKILINENI: The toxicology reports show that her blood alcohol content was .19 percent. This is double the legal amount, Nancy, that`s allowed in the state of New York.

GRACE: And what about marijuana, Rupa?

MIKKILINENI: Yes. There was also -- blood tests show that she has -- she had smoked marijuana within one hour of that crash.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Diane Schuler`s brother and his family remain secluded, still in shock over the horrifying revelation that their three girls died because their Aunt Diane was driving drunk. Today a relative of the girls was determined to set the record straight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because we have never known Diane to be anything but a responsible and caring mother and aunt, this toxicology report raises more questions than provides answers for our family.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: An attorney for Diane Schuler`s husband, Daniel, told that Schuler never had an alcohol problem and that the family is absolutely in shock over the toxicology reports.

BARBARA: She was not an alcoholic. She rarely had a drink. She got in the van with the children. Nine witnesses saw her that day not drunk.

NEMARK: It`s hard for me to believe that the family did not know that this woman had an alcohol problem or a drug problem. This could not have manifested itself all of a sudden out of the clear blue sky on that one Sunday morning.

BARBARA: This man loved this woman. He is in a daze from all of this. Absolutely. There was no.


GRACE: Nobody witnessed her drinking? To Brad Lamm, board certified, registered interventionist at You know, Brad, alcoholics or drinkers don`t always let you see them boozing it up.

I recall having guests stay for the weekend. When they were gone even the mouthwash.


GRACE: It was all gone.

LAMM: Yes. I hear you.

GRACE: I think -- somebody gave me a bottle of wine. It was -- I found the bottle.

LAMM: Empty.

GRACE: . in the bathroom towels.

LAMM: Yes.

GRACE: And the mouthwash was all gone. I had no idea.

LAMM: And look, here is the struggle. You and I know what we would do. We would take the keys away and make sure that the person didn`t drive if they were impaired, but that`s the battle that families face.

You know is she or isn`t she, and has she had too much, and what can we really do? You know, families get stuck in the face of addiction. So, you know, that night whether or not they knew, I think I would probably know because that`s the world I live in. But, you know, it`s tough for families.

GRACE: And you know what else?

LAMM: Families fight within themselves, you know, trying to decide.

GRACE: Sometimes people don`t want to know because they don`t want to know. Right now with me, Eileen Lehpamer. She`s from 1010 WINS. She attended the press conference today. Eileen, it looked like the press gauntlet got kind of crazy. What happened?

EILEEN LEHPAMER, REPORTER, 1010 WINS, ATTENDED PRESS CONFERENCE TODAY: Well, they were -- this was the first time we actually heard from Diane Schuler`s husband. Now, this accident happened a week and a half ago, and we had not heard from him, so everyone obviously wanted to talk to him and hear his side of the story.

He basically disputed the toxicology reports saying he -- his wife was not an alcoholic, that she had not been drinking, and what was called into question here was she left an upstate campsite at 9:30 in the morning and four hours later, at 1:30 in the afternoon, was when this accident happened.

So the question is when was she drinking? I mean the toxicology reports show her blood alcohol was .19, and she had marijuana in her system also, according to police.

GRACE: And is it true, Eileen Lehpamer -- everyone, she`s joining us from 1010 WINS Radio -- that she was barreling down the wrong way of the interstate?

LEHPAMER: Well, that`s right. Well, there`s a couple highway that she took to get there. The highway where it happened, the Taconic. They said that she was traveling south in the northbound lane and witnesses originally on that highway said that she was actually keeping the car steady for 1.7 miles. Nearly two miles.

So this was before she got on. The other highways that she had been on they did say that they thought she was driving erratically and aggressively, like tailgating. So there`s two -- from the two highways two different stories.

GRACE: With me right now, a special guest, Ann Scott. She is the owner of the Hunter Lake Campgrounds. She`s joining us from Parkville, New York, and she has known the Schulers for years. She saw Diane Schuler the morning of the crash.

Miss Scott, thank you for being with us. Can you shed any light on what happened that day?


GRACE: Yes, ma`am.

SCOTT: Am I on?

GRACE: Yes, ma`am.

SCOTT: OK. Nancy, I have only known Diane about three years. They were seasonal campers with us. And they were just a really normal family here. She took the children walking and they played up on the court, and the children would go swimming.

She was polite to everybody. She wasn`t a person that mixed with a lot of people. She was very quiet. And I have to be honest with you, she had us all in a state of shock and surprise. As far as this situation is concerned. And I think when the toxicology report came out, we just fell apart. We couldn`t believe it.

GRACE: I just can`t believe all of these children.

SCOTT: It`s horrifying.

GRACE: Have lost their lives.

SCOTT: Horrifying.

GRACE: And her blood alcohol, the evidence that she had been smoking pot with five children, little children in the car with her. Of course, her husband claiming no, she didn`t drink, she wasn`t an alcoholic, she didn`t smoke pot.

With me is Ann Scott, the owner of Hunter Lake Campground. She`s known the Schulers about three years. She saw her that morning.

To Laura Dean-Mooney, the national president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. When you hear about a story like this, Laura, what`s your reaction?

LAURA DEAN-MOONEY, MADD NATIONAL PRESIDENT: Well, my heart broke immediately. It brought back for me personal memories because my husband, Mike Dean, was killed by a wrong-way drunk driver in 1991 on a Texas highway. They found an emptied bottle of Jim Beam whiskey in his car.

So things like this just point a horrific flashlight on the drunk driving problem in America.

GRACE: And, you know, when all these people say she didn`t drink, she wasn`t an alcoholic, hello? Her blood alcohol .19.

Out to the lines, Sally in Texas. Hi, Sally.

SALLY, CALLER FROM TEXAS: Hi, Nancy. God bless you and I just pray for all the families. I just can`t imagine having realized that my spouse had done something like this.

GRACE: You know, Sally, I`m afraid to even -- and I had a little bit of a lead foot before I had the twins. I try not to even get on the interstate with them because no matter how careful I am, what about all the other nuts that are whizzing by?

SALLY: Exactly. Exactly. And then to know that she killed these other three men also. I just can`t imagine being left behind and knowing that my spouse did that. But my question is, you already answered one, what she was doing before. But you answered that so I was just wondering, did she maybe stop somewhere after she left to get a bottle?

GRACE: Good question.

Rupa Mikkilineni, have they retraced her steps? Is that possible that she stopped somewhere to obtain alcohol?

MIKKILINENI: Nancy, it`s very possible. This is what police are working on right now. They are trying to reconstruct the collision itself and the hours before the collision.

GRACE: Right. Very quickly.

MIKKILINENI: It is an open and active investigation.

GRACE: Dr. Michael Bell, how reliable are these toxicology reports, Dr. Bell?

DR. MICHAEL BELL, PALM BEACH CO. CHIEF MEDICAL EXAMINER: Well, they`re extremely reliable. As long as they were taken properly during the autopsy, I would count on them.

GRACE: And where -- do you get them from the blood, from tissue? Where do you get these results for blood alcohol and pot?

BELL: Well, usually we don`t just draw blood. Usually we`ll also draw urine, some body organs like liver, brain, as well as eye fluid, vitreous fluids

GRACE: So unless, Doctor, the reports have been switched, do you believe the reports are accurate?

BELL: I do. I think they are. And I think if they do.


GRACE: Back to Rupa Mikkilineni, joining us there from the scene. Rupa, didn`t you leave something out of your rendition of the facts, something like an empty bottle of Absolut found in the wreckage? Absolut Vodka?

MIKKILINENI: That`s right, Nancy. There was an Absolut bottle of Vodka, 1.75 liters, broken bottle, that was found in the driver`s passenger seat actually of the floor. The police are not able to determine if she had consumed the alcohol from that particular bottle.

Now it`s also interesting to know is that they do believe their theory that she stopped in several places along the way. And here`s why, Nancy. This is not (INAUDIBLE) 90 miles. The crash site is 90 miles from that camp site where she left at 9:30 in the morning. That`s a four-hour drive. 90 miles, four hours? Not quite.

GRACE: Very quickly to Ann in Louisiana, hi, Ann.

ANN, CALLER FROM LOUISIANA: Hi, Nancy. You kind of touched on the question before the break. I was wondering if they could have maybe switched the toxicology reports but with this information you just said about the bottle I did not know that. Is there any way that they would give them a second?

GRACE: Yes, what about that? To Tom Shamshak, how often do you see a second analysis done for blood alcohol, quickly?

SHAMSHAK: I imagine that in this case they may very well do that. Nancy, this could have been a suicide.

GRACE: OK. Except for everybody else in the car. That would be homicide.

Everybody, let`s stop and remember, Army Specialist Carlos Wilcox IV, 27, Cottage Grove, Minnesota, killed Iraq. Awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Army Service Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal. Studied at Arizona State and graduated from Metropolitan with a degree in biology. Dreamed of med schools, spoke fluent Spanish, loved traveling, reading.

Carlos Wilcox IV, American hero.

Thanks to our guests but especially to you. Happy birthday to our superstar Marlaina and a special good night from Georgia friends of the show, David, Kay, Brad, Lindsay. Aren`t they beautiful?

I`ll see you tomorrow night, everybody, 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.